Seed of Chucky
The dysfunctional family from hell reunites in this fifth entry in the Child's Play franchise and sets their sights on actress Jennifer Tilly, who is reluctantly starring in a slasher film based on killer dolls Chucky and Tiffany.
When we last saw our favorite carrot-top psycho toy at the end of 1998's deliciously campy Bride of Chucky, his wife, Tiffany (voiced by Jennifer Tilly), had just given birth to a razor-toothed baby and as with every Chucky movie, the dolls return to being dolls again. The demon seed has since been abducted by a British ventriloquist who names him Shithead, keeps him in a cage, and forces him to compete for the ventriloquism world championship. The gender-confused, androgynous child (voiced by Billy Boyd)--who looks like the bastard child of The Lord of the Rings' Gollum and Ziggy Stardust--finds out that a movie is being made in Hollywood about his parents. The gentle soul escapes, mails himself to the set, and ''reanimates'' his parents by reading an ancient voodoo inscription on his necklace. After a quick inspection of their child's Barbie-doll crotch fails to settle the gender conundrum, Chucky and Tiffany name it Glen-Glenda (a nod to hack director Ed Wood) and begin to bludgeon set folk. Tiffany is flattered that her favorite actress, Jennifer Tilly, is playing her in the movie, and they devise a plan to capture the Oscar nominee and impregnate her with, yes, the seed of Chucky. Will Glen-Glenda take up the family vocation and help turkey-baste Tilly and eviscerate everyone in sight, or will Papa Chucky push the troubled tyke one bloody step too far?
You can thank, or blame, Jennifer Tilly for reinvigorating this series when she shamelessly hammed it up in Bride of Chucky as Tiffany's human form. Here she takes it one step further by playing an exaggerated (we hope) caricature of herself, and someone should hand her an award for her spirited self-deprecation. She bites into the opportunity with demented gusto as she endures cracks about her weight, airy voice, promiscuity and career relevance. ''I should have played Erin Brokovich--I could have done it without the Wonderbra,'' she seethes about Julia Roberts to Redman, the ''rapper/director'' who is thinking about casting Roberts as the Virgin Mary in his biblical flick. To change his mind, Tilly uses her home as a casting couch and brings Redman over for some very un-virginal antics. As the two sip champagne and nibble on each other, the rapper admits that his favorite Tilly flick is Bound. ''Bound? Yeah, everyone loves that one,'' she coos. ''Me and Gina [Gershon] are very close friends. Gee, maybe the three of us could hang out.'' Tilly's personal assistant tells her that she's going to hell for putting out to play the Virgin Mary. ''Hell,'' says Tilly, ''would be ending up on Celebrity Fear Factor in a worm-eating contest with Anna Nicole Smith.'' It's in these moments when Tilly takes jabs at herself and Hollywood that you wish someone would cast her in more comedies, pronto. In the other roles, Billy Boyd makes ambiguously sexual Glen-Glenda almost sympathetic, A Dirty Shame director John Waters expertly plays a slimy paparazzo, and Redman just looks, well, confused about whether he should play it straight or follow Tilly over the top.
Writer Don Mancini, who penned the entire Chucky oeuvre, steps up to the director's plate for the first time with Seed. From the title sequence, which features animated doll sperm racing through a vagina, it is apparent that this is going to be another unapologetic, unabashed camp encounter of the crass kind. It's never once scary or even suspenseful, but Mancini isn't shy about spilling gore for shock value, like the steaming disembowelment of Redman or John Waters' sulfuric acid-eaten face. He gets laughs as Glen struggles with his parents' killing addiction, which culminates in an inevitable Baby Jane makeover and subsequent conniption. Pop-culture and movie refs abound, such as when Chucky hacks through a door with an ax a la The Shining and ''can't think of anything to say.'' Some jokes fall flat, like when Chucky runs a Britney Spears look-alike's car over a cliff and he utters, ''Oops, I did it again,'' but we appreciate mean-spirited ridicule of banal pop blips nonetheless.
Absurdist aficionados, Jennifer Tilly fans and Child's Play devotees will want to get a load of this Chucky, but series newcomers and those seeking serious scares should check out The Grudge or Saw instead.